The Winnipeg International Writers Festival has teamed up with co-presenters McNally Robinson Booksellers for a special Spring Literary Series. Over these events spanning April, May, and June, we’ll be exploring a wide variety of the best literature from Canada and beyond.
John Elizabeth Stintzi will be reading, discussing, and signing their debut novel Vanishing Monuments (Arsenal Pulp Press) and their debut full length poetry collection Junebat (House of Anansi) with host Bruce Symaka.
In Vanishing Monuments, Alani Baum, a non-binary photographer and teacher, hasn’t seen their mother since they ran away from Winnipeg with their girlfriend when they were seventeen – almost thirty years ago. But when Alani gets a call from a doctor at the assisted living facility where their mother has been for the last five years, they learn that their mother’s dementia has worsened and appears to have taken away her ability to speak. As a result, Alani suddenly find themselves running away again – only this time, they’re running back to their mother.
In their debut poetry collection, Junebat, Stintzi grapples with the pain of uncertainty on the path towards becoming. Set during the year they lived in deep isolation in Jersey City, NJ, these poems map the depression the poet struggled with as they questioned and came to grips with their gender identity. Through the invention of the Junebat — a contradictory, evolving, ever-perplexing creature — Stintzi is able to create a self-defined space within the poems where they can reside comfortably, beyond the firm boundaries of the gender binary or the plethora of identities gathered under the queer umbrella.